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Lifting restrictions needed to save businesses and jobs

Posted on 26 October 2020
Lifting restrictions needed to save businesses and jobs
Business confidence on the Gold Coast is experiencing a lower level of business sentiment than the State average and the long-term outlook for business remains blurred by uncertainty, especially as stimulus support begins to taper off said the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).

The latest Suncorp-CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions, a quarterly survey conducted to give a snapshot of business conditions in Queensland, found that while there was some recovery in the September quarter, the economy is stalled due to ongoing restrictions.

Key results in the Gold Coast region show:

Nearly two-thirds of businesses are forecasting weaker economic performance for both the State and National economy;
Despite recording improved sentiment across the September quarter, the Gold Coast region continues to be amongst the most impacted by ongoing border restrictions and lack of tourism
Nearly all surveyed businesses (99%) believe they could only survive up to 12 months when stimulus support ends.

CCIQ economist Jack Baxter said that while overall business sentiment increased slightly from the previous quarter, the forecasted trends are plateauing well short of a full recovery.

"The results of the latest survey show businesses feel the recovery being experienced to date will be as good as it gets if there are no changes to current operating conditions," Mr Baxter said.

"Many small businesses are still experiencing a stimulus-driven recovery in sales and revenue, but ongoing restrictions are constraining their ability to manage costs and boost profitability.

"One-half of respondents indicated their profitability continues to decline, despite a sharp improvement being recorded across the performance and cost indicators as business re-open.

"This indicates that despite being open and trading, social distancing and patron limits put a cap on profitability and economic productivity.

"And despite that decreased profitability, the crisis has not impacted their fixed operating costs. There's still utility bills, rent and insurance to pay with deferred payments becoming due in the New Year.
"The concern for business is being expected to operate in these same conditions, with the same caps on their profitability, but without stimulus support. And that leads to no room for ongoing recovery," Mr Baxter said.

Mr Baxter flagged that the September quarter's Hot Topic Survey raised further concern, with nearly all Queensland businesses now uncertain about their survival during the New Year as stimulus support ends.

"When stimulus support ends, and when loan repayments, deferrals and tax breaks resume, businesses must be standing on their own two feet.

"This is unlikely, as ninety-nine per cent of businesses indicating they are unsure of their ability to operate beyond 12-months without support, especially if current restrictions are not lifted," Mr Baxter said.

Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce President, Martin Hall,  said Gold Coast businesses continue to struggle due to the border uncertainty and the the unknown longevity of the ongoing crisis impacting tourism, in addition to ongoing business restrictions. 

"We've been calling for months to have restrictions eased further because enabling business to open up, while still operating in a COVIDsafe way will allow them to trade profitability.

"The Christmas season is crucial for businesses, and we need to give them a real opportunity to fully open up and trade viably, so they can stay open and keep their staff employed," Mr Hall said.

Suncorp Executive General Manager Business Banking Glenn Haslam said businesses have had a challenging year however it's pleasing to see that for the majority, business confidence is returning as restrictions ease.

"Whether it's a cotton farmer in regional Queensland or restaurant owner on the Gold Coast, businesses across Queensland have shown their spirit and determination by adapting to meet their customers' needs and changed circumstances this year," Mr Haslam said.

"Although there is still a long way to go, as always Suncorp is there to help our customers get through these difficult times."

 

Read the full report here:

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